A dedicated consultant radiologist at The Christie hospital in Manchester is gearing up for his first London Marathon on Sunday 21 April 2024 in honour of his late father and to raise vital funds for the hospital where he works.
Rohit Kochhar from Didsbury witnesses first-hand the impact of cancer on patients and their loved ones. He lost his own father, Dr Vijay Lal Kochhar, to rectal cancer in 2022, while his mother, Amita Kochhar survived breast cancer, having been diagnosed back in 1999.
“My mum was told her results the day before I was about to start my postgraduate training,” explained Rohit. “She bravely kept the news to herself and dropped me to my hostel with her biggest smile as if nothing had happened! Thankfully, she is still doing well and keeping herself busy with charity work for underprivileged children. She looked after dad for over 10 years, always by his side.”
These personal experiences of cancer within his family, together with seeing its effects on a day-to-day basis, has inspired Rohit to participate in the London Marathon.
“At first, I signed up for the Manchester marathon, just quietly behind the scenes just to see how I felt, and I loved it. So, in December last year I ran the Liverpool Aintree Christmas half-marathon and proudly wore my Christie Charity t-shirt along the route."
“I chose to do the London Marathon next, as it was the obvious choice for me. Both me and my sister Ratna had always wanted to do this for dad. Sadly, she can’t join me in person but is fully supporting me, along with my wife Su, son Jai and daughter Jia and the rest of my wider family and colleagues - it would not be possible without these amazing guys.”
Rohit’s wife, Dr Surabhi Wig - a consultant rheumatologist at Bolton Hospital - has been actively involved in fundraising herself, organising curry nights and completing the Three Peaks Challenge with Rohit to raise money for the Steve Prescott Foundation, which works with The Christie Charity to help make a difference to lives of patients with peritoneal cancer. But this time Rohit wanted to focus his attention solely on fundraising for The Christie Charity.
Rohit’s marathon falls on the day before his father's birthday and shortly after his own 50th birthday. Reflecting on the bond with his father, Rohit says: "Me and my dad were the best of friends...not a single day passed without us speaking to each other no matter where we were. So yes, this marathon is for him.”
In preparation, Rohit has been training at his local park in Wythenshawe, fuelled by memories of his father's resilience, and with the aim to raise awareness and support for The Christie Charity's invaluable work in raising money to fund cancer care and research.
"To take part in my first London marathon is a massive privilege and to do it on behalf of The Christie Charity means a lot to me. I want to try my best to fulfil my dad’s wishes of never ever giving up on the fight against cancer.”
Alicia Gaffey, sporting events coordinator at The Christie Charity said, “It’s fantastic that Rohit is taking on the challenge of the London Marathon in honour of his father and to raise vital funds to benefit both his patients and others at The Christie hospital. He sees every day the benefits that The Christie Charity makes to the lives of cancer patients and so it’s wonderful he is doing his bit to support us. We wish Rohit the best of luck.”
To support the work of The Christie Charity, please go to Donate today or ring 0161 446 3988.
The Christie Charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS is able to fund. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education, and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families.
The London Marathon takes place on Sunday 21 April 2024.